Where do you call home?
After becoming frustrated with the limitations of practicing pain medicine in the US, I left Vanderbilt University and Nashville in August of 2018 to try and create more effective, affordable and accessible options for pain management outside of our health care system. Voluntarily unemployed for the first time in my life, I decided to radically simplify. So I sold all my possessions and am moving into a van! From this mobile home, I plan to visit and interview many of the experts in holistic healing as I can (all of whom are treating pain in ways few are taught in traditional medical training). These experts can fall anywhere along the spectrum from shamans to neuroscientists, from plant-based medicine/nutrition to virtual reality/AI. I’ll be extending my education overseas in the summer of 2019, exploring how this is done in other countries and health care systems. You can follow my journey as it unfolds at @msdrjackson on Facebook or Instagram.
What do you love most about multi-day trips?
Being far away from wifi and cellular networks. Long days of actual conversation in beautiful, wild settings. The unlikely friendships forged by strangers who do things outside of their comfort zones together. Sleeping outdoors. Impromptu campfire jam sessions.
When did you start working for Water By Nature?
Although I’ve been on rafting trips with WBN clients many times before, this will be my first trip as part of the “staff.” Thankfully they don’t need me for the guiding or the cooking.
Your best river meal you like to prepare?
Rum and coke
Most important piece of equipment you take on every adventure?
Journal and head torch
Biggest achievement to date?
In a true labor of love, stepping outside my comfort zone to create and implement the first Relief Retreat for people with longstanding, disabling pain in March 2017. It truly changed my life, and the lives of the “Big 12” who participated with me. (Check out the testimonials section at www.reliefretreats.com). It was the first time in my career that I really felt like a healer. Instead of trying to “fix” anyone, I just decided to get into the ring with the brave people who were suffering, listen more than talk, and bleed it out together. It was incredibly empowering for all involved, and really changed the way I conceptualize healing AND living.
The scoundrel in me loves any band with an androgynous lead singer that looks homeless, wears skinny jeans, has a wallet chain, and sings with a raspy soulful rock-n-roll voice. The romantic poet in me can’t get enough of Patty Griffin. But really, anything but classical music or the Beatles.
Best River story?
For an epic spell, I was a client turned guide girlfriend (aka “river kill”), so my best stories must remain unpublished. 😉 Other than that (ahem, those) tales, there is this: On my first river trip, one of the clients asked the definition of a class V rapid. Without missing a beat, her partner said “A class V rapid is one that any donkey can get down, as long as you have a guide worth a damn in the back.” #truth
Favourite rafting trips?
Futaleufu. It was my virgin voyage on a big whitewater river, and the people and experiences of that trip truly altered the entire trajectory of my life. I didn’t realize how disconnected I had become from the natural world, and from the ability to just let go and live in the moment. I’m still tangled up in the ever-growing international web of friends woven since day one on that trip….right up until this trip with WBN eight years later! That river will always run through it.
#18 on the Zambezi. It’s not the first wave, it’s not the second wave, it’s the….
What would you like to do when you ‘grow up’?
Just what I’m doing now, except as a wrinkled old gray-haired hippie gypsy. If I have a book, a yoga mat, and the freedom to roam, I’ll always find something good to do with good peeps.
Anywhere still on the rafting ‘bucket list’?
Papua New Guinea, of course! Also, I’m learning to kiteboard now, and am kind of obsessed with it. I think you can raft AND kite in Madagascar. Plus, doesn’t it just sound like an impossibly exotic destination?
Tell us something people may not know about you?
I was raised a good southern debutante and sorority girl, but I have ALWAYS had a sleeve tattoo and dreadlocks on my soul. Stay tuned…